...Empty. The old hardware store. We took the tour yesterday. It's unlikely that this will be Vicki's old hardware store... but the wheels are turning now...
The large photo is the smaller of the two storefronts; it has wood on both floor and ceiling, but not heat of its own. The owner of the old hardware store used it only for storage -- it hasn't been an actual store for maybe 70-80 years.
The big wheel is for a hand-operated freight elevator that goes from first floor to the basement. The basement floor is nothing but limestone bedrock and dirt -- and big timbers -- with a very low ceiling. The huge old coal burner is still down there, along with traces of coal.
The ladder is one of two -- one runs along a side of the store, the other along the back. (*sigh*)
The stairway leads from a street-level door between the two storefronts to the second level and five (count 'em -- 5!) apartments. We think it may have been a hotel or rooming house at one time (originally) with many more rooms because there are blocked off doorways everywhere! The largest apartment is relatively untouched and, really, quite nice -- with a little vision. Most of the rest are the result of some amazing cobble jobs that had us scratching our heads a few times. The electrical array was... shocking.
I'll get all the photos up on Flickr later... right now, I'm on my way to Mom's to celebrate some birthdays -- my stepdad's, my brother's, my brother-in-law's -- and, I realized, my three-year smoke-free anniversary!